Swimming for England (complete)

“And time passes, it is only life itself that never changes – when we are all gone the clouds, the gone the clouds, the stars, the cities will still bustle and hum with no thoughts at all for who lived for a bit and then disappeared.” John Hickman, 1960 Chapters The Bosphorus Page 3 Alcatraz […]

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Easter iv

After communion, the little congregation scattered to roasting tins and claret we climb the church tower, one father and his two sons, stone steps screwing us heavenwards, the tower stinking of winter, its four bells hanging in a bat chamber like green bombs, their detonators fouled with bad years. Upwards! The screw tightens us up […]

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She does not leave my side

I Across the narrow afternoon she helps me picking off the winter ground options of hawthorn, common dogwood, black thorn, crab apple and field maple. “Here’s hawthorn”, she dangles the whip at its root. “Don’t touch the thorns” she warns, her fingers soft as flowers. “Now crab apple” I order, taking off my jacket, “Crab […]

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Village Life – August

On Sunday morning a small working party gathers at the east end of the village, in their possession a key for the store which forms part of the Manor’s brick stable block, which is slowly collapsing – each year that passes the roof line on the block gets wobblier, and the holes in the slate […]

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Village life – June 2014

A beery fug over hangs the welly throwing competition, which is being run by a group of Young Farmers at one end of the garden. Queuing to have a go, I chat to a Young Farmer about the large wooden catapult (the size of a couple of washing machines) which, he explains, he has made […]

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British Summer Time: highlights

SATURDAY Children do homework at kitchen table. Turned and rolled earth in south east corner of garden. Planted six trees: 4 apples (cookers), 1 damson, 1 greengage. Plus stakes. Applied grass seed to south east corner of garden, and elsewhere. Ate lunch outside on terrace (hot ham and baked potatoes). Sunglasses. Salisbury IPA. Mowed lawn. […]

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Village life – October 2013

Anyone who watched the Avebury Ploughing Match at Marden (September 28th) might have thought they had been transported to Kansas. John Deere, New Holland and Ford tractors, each carefully ploughing a strip as far as the eye could see. The smell of hot dogs and burgers from the mobile caterer. Pick-ups, farmers in their overalls, […]

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